Your landing page headline will be the first thing your visitors see. It could be on your landing page, your PPC advertisements, your email subjects, or even in a printed magazine.
Within a split-second, people decide if they ignore you, or click and spend a few more seconds checking out what you have to offer. Your ad, landing page, article, or email could be so good, but if your headline sucks, people will leave and won’t even see your offer.
Great headlines create curiosity, excitement, and enthusiasm to click or continue. A headline can literally make - or break - your business. You only have one shot to succeed. So, as a marketer, it’s critical to master the skill of writing attention-grabbing headlines. Here's 11 tips to get you started:
#1 - Always Be Very, Very Specific
When you make a statement in your landing page headline, be very specific. Never say “easy-to-use software.” Easy is much too vague. What makes it so easy, exactly? Is it easier to use than your competitors? How, specifically? Always ask yourself the questions “how, exactly?” and next “so, why is this important?” when writing headlines. Here's an example of a headline that isn't specific enough. What does Lead with clarity mean? It doesn't explain what Carrot exactly offers.
This headline will be much better when it's more specific about the offer.
#2 - Make Sure Your Unique Selling Points Are “Really” Unique
We see this very often. A business writes down their unique selling points (USP’s), but it does not compare them with the competition. When you offer free shipping, and your competitors do as well, your free shipping is not a USP. Your visitors will compare you with your competitors. If you offer the same benefits, you’re not unique. Emphasize your unique differentiators, those that others don’t mention and, ideally, something they can’t compete with.
An example of a USP that is really unique and uses social proof in a great way.
#3 - Match Your Visitor’s Expectations
Most of your visitors come to your site via a digital channel. Make sure you match your visitors’ expectations by using the same wording on your landing page as you did in the previous step. For example, make sure there’s a nice “scent” between your ads and headlines by using the same words.
Example of a very clear headline.
#4 - Support Your Claims with Proof or Evidence
Your claims will be much more effective when you support them with hard proof. Using “best restaurant” is too vague. Support your claim with proof: “best-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor.” You could also use numbers as evidence, e.g., “14,102 books sold” or “over 1384 customers trust us.”
Using a lawsuit against your company as a way to show proof of you low prices, nice one!
#5 - Always Be Super Clear and Easy to Understand
Remember that your visitors do not work for you and are not privy to your industry-based lingo. Avoid words that make perfect sense to your colleagues but do not ring a bell for your visitors. Make sure you use language that he/she can readily understand. Talk to your clients like they are right there with you. It’s not about you; it’s all about your visitor. Aim for a Grade 6 reading level and be jargon-free.
An example of a clear landing page headline by HappyForms.
#6 - Do Your Research
Knowing your audience is one of the keys to successful headline writing. When you fully understand what your audience really wants on a deeper level, you know what hot buttons activate headline. Before you start filling in the formulas, make sure you have a solid idea of your customers. Identify their pain points, wishes, current solutions, e.g. Collect insights via (on-site) surveys, popups, analyzing forums, your call center and create a customer hypothesis. Your headlines will be much more effective when you talk like your audience and exactly match their preferences.
No doubts about what you can do here.
#7 - Use Proven Landing Page Headline Formulas to Generate Headlines
If you are stuck and have to inspiration at all - use headline formulas. You can fill in the variables in a headline formula and a headline will be generated. It saves you a lot of time and most of the formulas have already been tested.
Bonus: Click here to get 20 free headline formulas
A nice growth hack is to use headline formulas on your landing page.
#8 - Don’t Try to be Too Clever
Sometimes, when you’re working on a headline for a long time, you might attempt to be clever which often leads to vague and ambiguous headlines. They might sound fantastic to you, but when you try to be clever and, for example, use jokes or comparisons that are not clear, you will be confusing your readers.
'Done right' doesn't say anything. It would be clearer if the headline was "User Flow Software" or "Create user flow diagrams."
#9 - Remove potential barriers and objections
What obstacles does your headline have to overcome? What’s holding people back from taking action? Is there a major hurdle or misconception to clear about your industry, company, product or service?
A great example of removing objections in a landing page headline. When sending a direct mail campaign the last thing you want is to be dumped in the trash straight away.
#10 - Write your headlines when you’re “in the mood”
Writing killer headlines is easier when you’re feeling at your best. When do you have the clearest mind and highest motivation? For me personally, I am most creative at 8:00 in the morning (yes, really) when I have just had coffee and have just ridden my bike for 15 minutes to work.
#11 - Get the ultimate proof, A/B test your headlines
A landing page headline A/B test performed by Highrise
A/B testing is a fantastic way to inexpensively prove the power of your headlines. It’s easy to run a split-test on different headlines on your landing page with Optimizely or Visual Website Optimizer. Insert your fresh titles, and let it run until you hit significance. You could also A/B test your ads and email subjects, of course. P.S. If you achieve an amazing uplift, please share it with us! :)